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Asset Tagging Query

Created: 21 Mar 2011 • Updated: 24 Mar 2011 | 5 comments
GOC's picture
This issue has been solved. See solution.

Does anyone have any ideas or experience of Asset tagging devices so that when a call is logged against it (using a service desk Management tool), the Tag can be accurately linked to the Altiris database? I have toyed with the idea of tagging it with the device serial number, or the last four digits of the serial number or the last four digits of the MAC address but i'm getting duplicate digits when using the last four which has ruled that idea out.

The main issue is that the customer will only log a call against no more than 4 or 5 digits. this rules out the whole serial number.

Anyone any ideas or suggestions? I was possibly thinking of just manually tagging from 00001 etc and entering this into the bios in some way (for Altiris to detect).

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Ian_C.'s picture

A four character limit gives you 10000 devices using only numbers. Is that really enough? I guess you could always use the complete alphabet like Dell does for their serial numbers.

All newer devices contain a asset tag field in the BIOS which is seperate to the serial number & you can update that. From there you can easily create a custom inventory for that BIOS item.

Both Dell & HP have client connectors for Altiris that you can leverage.

As to entering the string into the BIOS for the first time, hmm? You don't want ot do this by hand for too many machines. Maybe you can create a CSV file with a format of

 "PC serial #","asset tag" 

and then have a script do a lookup and use the correct value when updating.

Would be interested in what your final solution is.

Please mark the post that best solves your problem as the answer to this thread.
GOC's picture

Thanks for the feedback Ian, yea 4 characters pretty much limits my range. I'll keep you update on what our final solution will be...

GOC's picture

Can anyone confirm if the last 5 digits of a device serial number will always be unique, particularly in an environment with several makes of devices?

jpellet2's picture

I can't imagine that this would be possible, especially across vendors. Dell's serial numbers are different than HP's but there is always a possibility that the last 5 will match, just like the possibility that the last 5 of a MAC address could match. If you want to guarantee that there won't be duplicates, at least for a while depending on the number of assets than tagging them manually might be the best option. We tag our assets this way and have for years. we started with 00001 several years ago and this year we're at 21xxx and as mentioned before, most modern BIOSs have a place for the asset tag in them so hard-coding it isn't that big of a deal.

SOLUTION
GOC's picture

Thanks for the feed back jpelllet2, this confirms what i'd originally thought. Since my post i've also came across a similar workstation as mine (Dell Optiplex 755) within our company which has the exact same 5 digits at the end of the serial number, with the first 2 being unique.

just going off the subject slightly, what type of process have you in place for managing and controlling your assets? For example how and who updates the CMDB (in Altiris or whatever Service Management Tool is in place)? If gor example you purchased 30 new pc's, what's the process for updating those onto the system?

The reason I ask is we're in the process of moving away from manual Asset registers to Altiris Client Management Suite (Inventory Solution), which will feed a new Service Management Tool which is all pretty new. Before this our engineers just manually updated the Asset Register which was very prone to error, with no real ownership or process in place for updating...